Spiritual well-being has an indelible link to our material well being:

Dirt farmers, despair!  Grape growers, wring your hands! Lament the loss of wheat and barley.  All crops have failed. Vineyards dried up, fig trees withered, Pomegranates, date palms, and apple trees— deadwood everywhere! And joy is dried up and withered in the hearts of the people. Joel 1:11-12 (The Message)

Joel recognizes that when people are facing material hardship then they also face a spiritual challenge. We can take for granted the benefits of living in a prospersous and secure society today. In fact, I would hazard that most people at least take something of it for granted. Some of the thoughts of Christian people and groups in the last century have seen such material well-being as a sign of their rightness before God. What if God was to take all that away though? What if we were to be struck with an economic downturn far worse than the one recently experienced? What if the fortunes of our Western society, with its Christian roots, and the developing were to be completely reversed? Could we claim to have the joy of knowing we are enormously blessed by God despite our poverty and need?

Lord Jesus Christ, let the joy within my heart not primarily be because of the  material comfort I enjoy. May I have the joy of knowing your grace, love, and power, always at work in me. Amen.

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